Jim Davis is the global marketing chief of technology vendor SAS. Davis is also a former CIO. In a recent CMO.com interview he makes a strong case for data-driven marketing and why marketing needs to “think more like a technologist.” He also suggests that IT needs to adopt a more strategic understanding of the business and collaborate more effectively across organizational teams to deliver solutions that align with the business objectives they support.
It is an interesting read and his fundamental message is that marketing needs a better understanding of what’s in the technology box, and how they can use it. Davis believes that to succeed in the digital age, technology is such an important foundation to marketing success that ultimately the CMO and CIO roles should be interchangeable. I don’t completely support that position but he makes some compelling points that highlight a dramatic evolution in the marketing landscape
Here are 10 important points from the interview with Jim Davis by Nadia Cameron:
- Marketing is increasingly quantifiable. Analytics will deliver better customer understanding and program insights
- Data and analytics support the decision making process, they don’t replace it
- Digital channels and touch-points are everywhere and integration is essential to efficiency and consistency
- Vendors often lead marketing into the mistake of believing the analytics and automation system just needs to be switched on to achieve results
- IT often does not truly understand the needs and requirements of marketing CRM and automation systems
- CIOs need to understand what the technology can do for the organization and how it can interact with the customer
- One of the common CMO hurdles fully leveraging data, technology and expertise is their relationship with the CIO and IT
- Recognize the silos of information within the organization and integrate them
- The emerging marketing technologist and data scientist roles can help bridge the divide between IT, the data, and marketing
- The future of the marketing-technology relationship is real-time customer interaction, with context and personalized content
Marketing delivery and response has become much more quantifiable. New tools, new channels and new tactics demand that we rethink our approach to execution. In the never ending digital evolution, marketing and IT will become increasingly dependent upon one another. But I have a very difficult time accepting that they will become interchangeable.
Marketing has become seduced by technology at the expense of its true mission – story and message. We have become increasingly focused on automation, SEO, and Google rankings at the expense of creativity and content. For marketing there has been no other choice, technology has added new overhead to the process without a matched increase in resources, many in fact working with less.
As a discipline, marketing has been forever altered by digital technologies, turned upside down in many ways. Is it science? Not in my view. Delivery and analytics is heading in that direction and technology is a powerful tool-set, but let’s not forget about what we are delivering through those tools.
Lets not forget about story and message – it remains the true mission of marketing.